Up Close and Personal with Braces
Dental braces and orthodontic braces as they are also known is a complex subject. Trying to understand what they are and how they work can be confusing. This article will attempt to break down the terminology used by orthodontists, making it easier for you to understand this topic.
The function of braces is to apply pressure to your teeth over an extended period of time. This forces your teeth to move in a certain direction. The movement of your teeth allows your bone to change as more pressure is used and this acts to brace your teeth in their new position.
Terminology of Braces
Brackets – are small squares that are glued directly to the front of your teeth. Sometimes they are attached with bands instead of glue. These brackets will hold the wire for your braces and come in several types. Tooth colored brackets are less visible than the normal stainless steel brackets. It is possible to place the brackets on the back of your teeth to totally hide them.
Orthodontic Bands – these come in a variety of colors including steel, clear or tooth colored. The bands are wrapped around each tooth and become an anchor for your brackets. Not everyone requires bands and your orthodontist will advise you as to what you need.
Spacers – these are small separators that fit between your teeth. They create a small space before your orthodontic bands are fitted.
Arch Wires – this is the wire which attaches to each bracket and helps guide the movement of your teeth. Arch wires are normally made from stainless steel but can also be clear or tooth colored.
Ties – these are the small rubber rings which attach the arch wire to your brackets. Again they can be metal, clear or tooth colored.
Buccal Tube – this is placed on the last tooth which holds the end of the arch wire in place.
Ligatures – are extremely small elastic bands which hold the arch wire to the bracket.
Springs – these are placed onto the arch wire as needed to help push, pull, open or close spaces between your teeth.
Headgear Tubes – if necessary these are attached by two bands on your upper teeth and hold the headgear in place.
Elastics – these are attached to hooks on your brackets and are worn in different ways. These elastics help apply pressure to move your upper teeth against your lower teeth. This ensures that each tooth is in its proper place.
Now you should feel more educated in the world of orthodontics. Every person who requires braces is unique and each fitting will be completely different. At least now you have a good understanding of the terminology and can follow along when your dentist tells you that you or your children require orthodontic treatment.
Dr. Reza Salmassian is a Board Certified Orthodontist. For any questions regarding this article or to schedule your complimentary orthodontic evaluation, please contact Dr. Salmassian’s office at 661-222-7444 or visit us at www.salmassianortho.com